Scott McKenna’s Nottingham Forest move is good for him and for Aberdeen.
Given the way McKenna has established himself with both the Dons and Scotland, it was always going to come at some point.
Although everyone connected with the Reds would rather he stayed, I think Aberdeen have struck a good deal.
The 23-year-old’s performances have attracted plenty of attention and he’s typical of what clubs in the English Championship or Premier League look for.
McKenna’s tall, strong, quick and athletic. He has all the attributes to be a success down south and because of that an offer was going to be accepted, sooner or later.
Given the financial situation at Pittodrie in these exceptional times, the board has done well to keep supporting Derek McInnes while closing the financial gap.
And, given those finances, this offer is a chance for the Dons to recoup some cash and balance the books in tricky times.
It’s a good opportunity for McKenna, too.
Aberdeen will miss his services greatly; his boots are big ones to fill, but the bottom line is that every club in Scotland is a selling club, so, if the right offer is made, you need to accept players will leave.
And this offer is one that will help the Reds in a difficult period.
The positive to the story is that it shows the value of investing in youth development.
The point of a youth development programme is to bring through players that contribute to the first team and, if they are of the quality of McKenna, you eventually cash in on them.
McKenna’s pathway is a success story for the youth development programme.
You have also had players like Andy Considine coming through the youth programme who stay with the club all their career, but unfortunately those players are rare in the modern game.
There will be a lot of talk about the fee Aberdeen get for McKenna, which is believed to be around £3 million up front with significant add-ons on top of that.
In the current climate, in my opinion, that’s good business for the Dons.
Yes an offer of £7m from Aston Villa was rejected two years ago, however, it’s worth remembering that bid in August 2018 was to move to Villa Park on loan and included the option there to buy in January.
Everyone had their opinions at the time and I think most felt the Dons were right to reject it. However, these are different times and the transfer market has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Clubs have endured months with very limited income because of Covid-19 and the Aberdeen board have done very well to bring in new investment and make savings to help the club.
You have to be realistic when it comes to the need to balance the books and what you can expect to receive for players.
I’m sure there will be a sell-on clause in place as well so that Aberdeen benefit if McKenna does well and moves on to a bigger club.
It’s a good chance for McKenna – who already has 16 Scotland caps – to establish himself in the English Championship and potentially progress to an even higher level.
I think this move to Nottingham Forest will be a stepping stone for him – the Championship is a good starting point for players..
But McKenna will have ambitions to play in the Premier League and, with the ability he’s got, there’s no reason why he can’t achieve that in the next couple of years.
If he continues to play for Scotland – and potentially play for the national side at a major tournament – he will continue to attract attention.
Shock Well defeat was out of the blue
Aberdeen’s performance in the defeat to Motherwell was totally out of character and totally out of the blue.
I found it hard to believe what I was watching because it wasn’t in keeping at all with recent displays.
In the previous six games, the Dons had conceded just once and looked assured in defence.
I know Derek McInnes made defensive changes, but this can’t be used as an excuse for that lack of solidity.
The different personnel will have been used to the system. Andy Considine has been performing well in the back three, Ash Taylor came in and is a very experienced player, while Ross McCrorie has shown himself capable of playing in a back three as well.
So it’s difficult to know why the performance was so poor.
Behind the defence, captain Joe Lewis made mistakes for Motherwell’s second and third goals.
Usually the keeper is so reliable and it’s hard to remember the last time he made errors like those that led to goals.
But every player has off days and that’s all you can put it down to.
Lewis will know he made mistakes and will be desperate to put them right.
And it wasn’t just in defence where there were problems; further forward the Reds were below par and Jonny Hayes was probably the only player in the side to perform even close to the expected level.
McInnes can’t look back at the game and say he got his shape or tactics wrong, it was simply just a case of players failing to perform.
This was a display and result that was out of character and out of the blue. I think it will be a one-off and won’t impact on how Aberdeen play going forward, because they still have the squad in place to enjoy a very good season.
Don’t underestimate threat from Sporting
Sporting’s 12 positive Covid-19 tests – including nine players and their manager – may help Aberdeen’s Europa League chances.
However, even if Sporting are weakened in Lisbon, nobody should be taking them lightly.
The fact that earlier this month the Czech Republic’s third string caused Scotland major problems shows you upsets can happen.
Seeing Sporting’s positive tests, and problems in other countries, I wonder what protocols they are following because in the main in this country clubs have been able to limit the number of positive tests and the spread of the virus.
But elsewhere in Europe it seems it has been harder for clubs to keep their own players safe and, in turn, those of other clubs.
Sporting being without their manager Ruben Amorim and nine players will help Aberdeen, but, whatever team the Portuguese outfit field, they will still be very capable.
For the Dons it’s important to focus on their own performance, not on the opposition, and make sure it’s at as high a level as possible to give them the best chance of going through to the play-off round.
I played on the only other occasion Aberdeen faced Portuguese opposition when we played Porto in the European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final in 1984.
We lost that tie 2-0 on aggregate and, if the current Dons side could avenge that defeat, it would be a great result for the club.
In fact, it would be one of the best European results for Aberdeen in recent times and put them just one game away from reaching the group stages, which would be fantastic for the Dons and the fulfilment of a long-held ambition.